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Government Report on Power Wheelchair Use in Medicare Triggers Misleading News Coverage, Says American Association for Homecare
Date:8/12/2011

-medicare-fraud_n.htm">July 13 news article about "medical scooter fraud" that stated, "Medicare's inspector general also showed that 61% of the motorized wheelchairs provided to Medicare recipients in the first half of 2007 went to people who didn't qualify for them…."  An August 11 editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel used the same OIG statistic to conclude that "about $100 million was wasted." Neither statement is supported by the OIG report, which uncovered a number of cases where the beneficiary should have received "a more expensive power wheelchair."

Tyler Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare, said, "It's disappointing but not surprising that the OIG report led to distorted news coverage. The American Association for Homecare has zero tolerance for waste and fraud, and we have lobbied for stronger anti-fraud measures for Medicare for years. But policymakers must not forget that properly prescribed, power wheelchairs help prevent falls and keep thousands of seniors and people with disabilities safe and independent at home, which lowers healthcare costs for taxpayers."

"The OIG report ignores the real problem with Medicare's system for reviewing claims which is the government's failure to adopt an effective documentation process for determining a beneficiary's medical necessity for a power wheelchair," said Wilson. "Physicians, providers, clinicians, and consumer advocates have repeatedly warned Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that the current documentation process is confusing, inefficient and subjective."

Home medical equipment providers are concerned that neither the
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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